How many people connected with you on LinkedIn did you connect with for a specific purpose or goal? Your LinkedIn connections can be leveraged to help attain short and long-term goals. Being able to determine what goals you may have and how to positions your connections to achieve those goals can set you apart from the majority of users.
You first need to have a look within yourself and your career to decide what types of goals you want to establish. Do you plan on being with the company you are now for the rest of your life? Do you think you’ll move out of the state by the end of the year? Determine both lengths of goals in order to get the most out of your connections.
As you look at your short term goals, try to make new connections with people that can easily influence these goals. I think the prime example here is leveraging LinkedIn connections to get a job. Your short term goal is to get hired. You will then use you connections to try and connect with as many people inside that company as you can. Typically, you’ll start with the recruiter then start getting connected with the hiring managers as well as the other employees. This shows the decision makers you are vested in communication with the company since you have connected with so many people that are already a part of the organization.
When you review your long term goals consider where you may want to be and how these connections can make the difference. An example here would be if you think in five years you want to move into the bio-medical field because you think that will be a good fit for you. The reason it has to wait five years is because you are still finishing up your degree, and then would like to move across the country. With these parameters you can start to connect with people in these industries NOW! Seek out current west-coast companies that do what you are interested in. Once you make these connections you can help keep your brand around as you work to finish you degree. When you are finally ready to get the jobs, you’ll have old, strong connections with people who have probably continued climb the ladder in their organization. A strong letter of recommendation from those people would be very helpful toward you getting the job.